Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

Vikings! And GM advice?


Advice

Dark Archive

I'm starting a new campaign in a few weeks, and my players have chosen the Lands of the Linnorm Kings for their setting. Unfortunately, I have no ideas for viking plots.

So, GMs--what kind of adventures would you run in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings? What movies/books would help me think of ideas? I'm hoping to get my players into Irrisen within a few levels, but other than a general interest in the Jadwiga and the type of evil plots they could cook up, I don't really know what to do with four vikings who own their own boat.


Don't know much about PAthfinders flavor of vikings but I'm currently runnign a homebrew where the players are warriors of valhalla ressurected by the all-father to stop the coming of Ragnarok.

Wikipedia was a good source for viking myths and lore. The 13th Warrior adn BEowulf are also not bad places to look.

Just do a google search you're bound to find tons of stuff to draw inspiration from.


TarkXT wrote:
13th Warrior

Underrated movie, and great inspiration for a D&D adventure ... just take out all the Arabian fluff.

FWIW,

Rez


I suppose the Monty Python "Spam" shetch isn't what you're after?

Contributor

Beowulf.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Rezdave wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
13th Warrior

Underrated movie, and great inspiration for a D&D adventure ... just take out all the Arabian fluff.

FWIW,

Rez

And the ridiculousness of cave dwelling savages having hundreds off horses to form cavalry...where did they keep them???

You could do the standard D&D style adventures of learn of quest, investigate, fight, win and loot. As its pretty much a fit to nordic tales. To be honest you could give it a nordic twist just by using great halls as a location and using dwarves and elves as supernatural beings rather than run of the mill races. Nords didn't build castles as king's ruled small populations that resembled a small village rather than a grand city. They weren't overally wealthy in natural resources either. Nordic myth and superstition is tied to mist so I would use that as well. Make it dangerous, mysterious and play up the local superstitions with your NPCs. Dragons and underground caverns are regular in nordic tales so you've got that option too. Google the nordic gods and read through their tales for ideas.

Heres some ideas
* I'd go with the more supernatural side of things over the flash bang fantasy style.
* Maybe a king is underseige at nights and has sent for aid. 13th warrior rip off, but the core of the story is good. Maybe you tweak it that its a handful of demons disguised as bears so that anyone who witnesses their attack says its just a feral group of bears. You could have a witch/crone controlling the demons to take out selected targets for some sort of revenge or goal driven ambition (say king's son taking out supporters of his brothers as he knows his father is near death).
* Crones and witchcraft would be a good theme to go with.
* Maybe the mist rolls into town and a creature attacks.
* Vikings used to sail a lot for raids so theres always the opportunity of mystical islands and the dangers of the mist
* Weapon of legend being held somewhere that players hear about and then pursue.
* A rival king has made a pact with a demon/devil, which has enhanced his warriors who are raiding the region
* Dragon up in the nearby mountain has awoken after decades of slumber
* A king has no heir to the throne so offers the opportunity up to be his heir by performing a set list of deeds.

Hope this helps

Dark Archive

As long as they don't have horned helmets, you are doing well...


Have them face a large group of bears, who come from a very windy area.

Also it might help if the face off in some sort of dome at the end of the adventure

Grand Lodge

SwnyNerdgasm wrote:

Have them face a large group of bears, who come from a very windy area.

Also it might help if the face off in some sort of dome at the end of the adventure

Oracle and Bards work best as spell casting classes... other spell casters not so much.


Magic, in general, should be rare. Try to keep it mystic and removed. As Helaman said, Oracles and Bards, but I'd also add witches and druids to that list. A sorcerer works well too, but only as an epic, climatic encounter.

When the party does come across magic, keep it very thought out, and always with backstory. Remember that there are no wizard troves out there making magic swords. A +1 longsword has a story to tell; it was a gift from a fey for freeing her from a trap, it was the sword of a brave hero who gave his life fighting a superior foe, it was forged by the dwarves and given to a warrior so that he may test their craft.

In general, animals and other humans will make up the majority of encounters, though trolls, goblins and fey are also common in stories. Addtionally; Giants. Giants are huge in Norse legends (pun somewhat intended).

Ideas (mostly pulled from other sources:
*A local family has been plagued by bad luck. Unbeknownst to them, it's all the fault of a trio of goblins.
*Witnessing signs of an ill omen, the village elder asks the PCs to help in a ritual to appease the nature spirits
*In a coming of age ceremony, a young man must hunt a great beast. He approaches the party for help
*A fell beast is preying apon local livestock, and the PCs are hired to slay it
*the local champion, a braggard, challenges the PCs to compleate a task before he can
*people have been disappearing from town over the course of the year. Signs point to a deranged hemit (druid) who lives outside of town.
*a prominent figure in town has contracted lycanthropy and needs the PCs to retrieve a rare herb, wolvesbane, to create an antidote before the next full moon.


Just another little thing. I ran a homebrew with Norse years ago, and one character came to mind. Feel free to use him, he was a PC.

The PC was a potter. Not just any potter, he was a masterful potter. People would come from many villages away to purchase a pot from him, and he always had just the right pot for the occasion. he had a knack for knowing what a person wanted, and an even better one for knowing what they needed.
This PC was also favored by the fey. You see, he had a trapping trail that he kept, and he would take some of his pots and set them along the trail. Now and then, a pot would go missing, and he'd replace it. Now and then, he'd find things left in the pots he left. Some days he would walk his trail and find two herrings in a pot. On days when his son and daughter-in-law came to visit, he'd find a rabbit. On the birthday of his grandson, he found a small wooden toy. Whatever he would find in the pots would always be exactlly what he needed. Never more, never less.
One day the PC was summoned by the village elder, for the PC was also a capable warrior (fighter class) of old. Ill omens had arisen and the PC and others were going to need to embark on a long quest. The day before he departed, he found an exquisit suit of mail in his pots, along with a sturdy ash spear. That day he set out two pots at every point along his game trail, and he set out on his journey.


Also loof for the PDF of Graeme Davis' "GURPS Vikings".
We used it a LOT while planning adventures in Greyhawk north-eastern peninsula.


The Old AD&D Vikings Campaign Sourcebook has tons of flavour information too, and the D&D Gazetteer for the Northern Reaches [GAZ 7] has plenty of fantasy viking materials to raid from

I'd echo trying to make the raiding element part of their saga... raiding Irresen or intercepting their ships/trade etc would work.

Recovering lost folk or family relics long left behind when Irresen claimed their territories would also be worthy of the skald's tales.

Blood feuds and duels will fit nicely too - remember they might be ordered to undertake quests for thier kings or jarl or even be asked to fight in battles etc...

Plenty of scope for epic sagas!


Frog God Games has some Viking stuff. Check them out.


Check also the Midgard project, from the good folks of Kobold Quarterly...

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

Kevin Javier Wright wrote:
Frog God Games has some Viking stuff. Check them out.

Kevin J is correct. Frog God Games will begin releasing a series of adventures called the Northlands Saga either this month or next month (can't remember exactly where on the release schedule). Written by Kenneth Spencer, an archaeologist that knows his vikings, they are chock full of viking goodness that you can use as is or pull out to form your own plots and adventures.

The first two adventures: Vengeance of the Long Serpent and Beyond the Wailing Mountains are complete and awaiting the printers with 8 more on the way as well as a Northlands source book.


Viking movies:
When the Raven Flies
Valhalla Rising

Reading "the Long Ships" by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson is a must. It is VERY funny.
You could also read he "Prose Edda", also known as the Younger Edda, Snorri's Edda. I never did by I've read some excerpts from it.

If you want the Pantheon (gods) to be realistic like I suggest you tone down the evil Part of Loke. He never was evil.

Vikings was actually great explorers and merchants/traders so don't just focus on wars and Blood feuds. The moral and philosophical dilemmas with Blood feuds are great if you want them to role play. Making the craft skill mean something might be good.

They were actually quite vain and cared a lot about their looks. So let the players know that dumping their charisma will hurt.

Viking warriors were very mobile and a common tactics was to rob and plunder places not heavily guarded, monasteries etc. Kidnapping wealthy and important people, such as Mayors or even local Kings, and demanding a ransom was also an often used tactic. So hit and run tactics. Not just brainless fighters.

Check out wikipedia and use Google.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

There are several historical fiction novels/series I'd recommend for inspiration:

The Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell
The Oathsworn Series by Robert Low

A "viking" flavor suits itself extremely well to gaming, because the main goal of every Norse raider who went viking was simple, to gain as much treasure (and glory) as possible.


Blood feuds (An offense given by an opposing clan, lusting after the clan leader's daughter, etc).

Marauding a local monastary and killing the inhabitants (one of whom, a monk, is brother to a distant civilized king - who gets very angry with your clan).

The northernmost glacier in a distant land is rumored to contain shards of ice so hard, so dense, so unearthly, and so sharp as to be suitable for making weapons. For some reason, this ice is also rumored to never melt.

An opposing clan's shaman is angered with your clan, and performs a costly ritual which summons a sea monster who terrorizes your coastline and attacks your clan's ships.

A longship blown off course in a severe gale reports back seeing a beautiful fjord in a distant land. It's warm, verdant, filled with game and fruit trees of the utmost quality. You're sent on a mission to find the hidden fjord and establish a claim. Will you find it? Does it even exist? Is it just a tall tale by a drunk Viking?

Dark Archive

Wow, thanks for the help, everyone! I don't think I'll have any problems coming up with adventure hooks now. Great suggestions.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How about the movie "How to Train Your Dragon". LOL

Lantern Lodge

malebranche wrote:

I'm starting a new campaign in a few weeks, and my players have chosen the Lands of the Linnorm Kings for their setting. Unfortunately, I have no ideas for viking plots.

So, GMs--what kind of adventures would you run in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings? What movies/books would help me think of ideas? I'm hoping to get my players into Irrisen within a few levels, but other than a general interest in the Jadwiga and the type of evil plots they could cook up, I don't really know what to do with four vikings who own their own boat.

The best viking saga I have ever read was "The Long Ships" by Frans G Bengtsson. It was given to me by a friend, who swore that back home in Denmark there are two books found in every household: the Bible and The Long Ships. I believe it was titled "Red Orm" in its original Danish publication. It was originally published in 4 parts during the 1940's, though every English version I've seen collects them all into one novel.

Anyhow, the book is a must read for anyone who's looking for a solid slice of viking life. Eric Mona, if you haven't read this yet, your missing out on something great.

Wikipedia has some decent information on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Ships


BQ wrote:
Rezdave wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
13th Warrior
Underrated movie, and great inspiration for a D&D adventure ...
And the ridiculousness of cave dwelling savages having hundreds off horses to form cavalry...where did they keep them???

Unquestionably a problem ... and the sheer mass of them dwelling underground.

Granted, the story is plagued by concept-flaws, but still I feel that as inspiration for a "fantasy" game adventure, it's pretty cool. After all, many adventures and fantasy stories don't hold up to the application of too much logic.

R.

Liberty's Edge

All these have been mentioned, but I'll just say them again:

The Long Ships by Frans G Bengtsson
The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell

Valhalla Rising (film)

I'd also recommend the Icelandic Sagas.

Liberty's Edge

BQ wrote:
And the ridiculousness of cave dwelling savages having hundreds off horses to form cavalry...where did they keep them???

The 13th Warrior is basically Beowulf; and they needed something to fill the part of the dragon, so they came up with the conceit of horse-riding, primitive humans with torches forming a long, serpent-like column...

I don't remember if it was in the book or not.


13th Warrior is based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crighton- better by far than the movie.

For a nordic adventure, how about a voyage to the distant shores of Arcadia, covered in spruce forests and mammoth dung....

Liberty's Edge

Curdog wrote:

13th Warrior is based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crighton- better by far than the movie.

For a nordic adventure, how about a voyage to the distant shores of Arcadia, covered in spruce forests and mammoth dung....

Crichton obviously patterned his story after Beowulf, though.

Round 1: Attack on the Hall.
Round 2: Grendel's mother/priestess
Round 3: Beowulf kills the dragon/Buliwyf defeats The Wyrm

It was a popular theory not too long ago that a peaceful matriarchy ruled Europe before it was usurped by violent, Sun-worshipping Indo-Aryans. Crichton turns this idea on its head by making the Goddess worshipers sub-human savages. Crichton was kind of a right-winger.

He might have actually been on to something, though. The middle part of Beowulf -- the defeat of Grendel's mother -- might have originally been a story about the worshipers of the Aesir supplanting those of the Earth-worshiping Vanir.

Liberty's Edge

Curdog wrote:

13th Warrior is based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crighton- better by far than the movie.

For a nordic adventure, how about a voyage to the distant shores of Arcadia, covered in spruce forests and mammoth dung....

Crichton obviously patterned his story after Beowulf, though.

Round 1: Attack on the Hall.
Round 2: Grendel's mother/priestess
Round 3: Beowulf kills the dragon/Buliwyf defeats The Wyrm

It was a popular theory not too long ago that a peaceful matriarchy ruled Europe before it was usurped by violent, Sun-worshipping Indo-Aryans. Crichton turns this idea on its head by making the Goddess worshipers sub-human savages. Crichton was kind of a right-winger.

He might have actually been on to something, though. The middle part of Beowulf -- the defeat of Grendel's mother -- might have originally been a story about the worshipers of the Aesir supplanting those of the Earth-worshiping Vanir.


Kortz wrote:
Curdog wrote:

13th Warrior is based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crighton- better by far than the movie.

For a nordic adventure, how about a voyage to the distant shores of Arcadia, covered in spruce forests and mammoth dung....

Crichton obviously patterned his story after Beowulf, though.

Round 1: Attack on the Hall.
Round 2: Grendel's mother/priestess
Round 3: Beowulf kills the dragon/Buliwyf defeats The Wyrm

It was a popular theory not too long ago that a peaceful matriarchy ruled Europe before it was usurped by violent, Sun-worshipping Indo-Aryans. Crichton turns this idea on its head by making the Goddess worshipers sub-human savages. Crichton was kind of a right-winger.

He might have actually been on to something, though. The middle part of Beowulf -- the defeat of Grendel's mother -- might have originally been a story about the worshipers of the Aesir supplanting those of the Earth-worshiping Vanir.

Makes sense. But understand in the myths that the Aesir did not wipe out the Vanir but eventually made peace with them through the exchange of hostages and intermarriage. And the ensuing peace inspired the invention of poetry.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

Crichton mentioned in the foreword to Eaters of the Dead that he wrote it on a dare from a colleague who was an English Lit professor and told him that it was impossible to make the Beowulf story interesting (he termed it one of the "Three Great Bores" of literature--can't remember what the other two were), so Crichton took the first few pages that comprise the historical Ibn Fadlan Manuscript and then made up about 150 pages of Beowulf to go with it. Plus he wanted to tell a story about neanderthals. Good stuff. Unfortunately, the movie stunk and even had a crappy name.

Liberty's Edge

TarkXT wrote:


Makes sense. But understand in the myths that the Aesir did not wipe out the Vanir but eventually made peace with them through the exchange of hostages and intermarriage. And the ensuing peace inspired the invention of poetry.

Well, yeah, but I think the original story of Grendel's mother might have been about a period of invasion, and the sun and sky gods moving into the territory of earth cults, which roughly corresponds to the mythology of the Aesir and Vanir.

I think the older earth cults used to sacrifice people into pools and bogs, and you end up with a story about a hero who fights one of these earth goddesses in her lair. Their imagination was probably helped along, after they drained a bog or pond, by finding a rusted weapon or two.

ALSO, I can't leave a discussion about 13th Warrior without saying that the scene toward the beginning where the Vikings wash their faces in the morning in each other's snot is completely ridiculous. You can't believe everything that Arabs and Christians had to say about Vikings.


With all the snow we've had lately and being stuck indoors for so long, I can see why the Vikings went a'viking.

If I were stuck in a mead hall all winter with nothing to do, by the time spring rolled around, I'd be thinking, "Hey guys! Let's pile into a boat and go loot and plunder. Anything to get out doors and blow off some steam!"


There was a pretty well-researched AD&D 2nd Edition sourcebook about Vikings that should be easy to adapt to PF. I'd also recommend GURPS Vikings.

Also, check out "Pathfinder / Ofelas", a gem of a movie set in early medieval scandinavia. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093668/


And remember, Vikings didnt have horns on their helmets :) That was the Franks :) The English used the Horned Helmets on Vikings in their plays because the french (Franks) had horns on theirs and they wanted to show the Vikings were bad enemies... and it stuck in the pop culture since shakespear...

The Beowulf movie before the Angelina Jolie Beowulf movie is the better one :) It shows Grendel as a Troll/Neanderthal

Vikings traded overland with China, and were across Europe all the way to the Black Sea and their boats could go up river to the black sea as well. They scared the cosacks, and the Swedish Viking tribe of Rus settled eastern Europe and drove out the locals and are Called Russians now :)

The Vikings Berserkers or Bearserkers were the wherebears or men who took on the temperment of wild bears in battle. Also Odin had Wolfmen, men who took on the temperment of wolves in battle... so wherewolves and wherebears are a common theme in Norse Fantasy Myth. Oh and Lord of the Rings is very Viking as Tolkien based it heavily on the Norse themes :) and the Riders of the Rohirim or Ridermark, the Rovanion, or men of Rohan are Vikings :) Theoden King and his son Eomer and the Princes who is no man who nails the Witch King of Angmar :) they Lived in a Viking Longhouse :) They were Norse peoples who lived inland and wernt fisherfolk :) Or sea raiders.


I would seriously considering remove Wizards and Paladins as playable PC classes. If you want the enemy (read non-Vikings) to be wizards or Plaladins fine, but don't let the players pick one of these classes. Witch, Sorcerer and Bards are fine. Bards sounds a bit lame so call them Skalds.
Give all spontaneous classes this Favored Class Options for free as a racial trait:

"Add one spell known from the spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level you can cast."

If you consider removing clerics as a playable class I would let Druids add the healing domain to the list of domains a druid can pick.

Suggestion on only playable races:
Humans, Hal-elves (half Fey), Half-Orcs (rename them as you please), Aasimar (touched by gods).

Remove all heavy armor or make them VERY rare.


If we talk about books, I would not go to heaven if I miss to mention Poul Anderson's "The Broken Sword"!!!!!
As for movies, I did like The Viking Sagas a lot.


AD&D 2E Viking Campaign Sourcebook


I'm currently writing a viking fantasy saga called Gurðinar's Saga of the Hall under the Mountain. I'm a norse expert myself, it's more of an obession really, but I can give you some tips on viking story writing.

First thing is, vikings did not have the same concept of good and evil that we have. To kill someone was not evil, it simply proved you were the stronger man. So the objective of the campaign should be more of a quest for glory and wealth and honor. The players could be mercenaries fighting for gold or defenders fighting against the forces of Niflheim. You should try to implement some mythical aspect, maybe they could be faced with a fierce Jotun in the lands of the giants or be called upon by Tyr to prove themselves in battle. You'll want to do some research in norse mythology before playing thing. Also, you could include special equipment, such as a spectacle helmet, which would increase your intimidate skill by 2 when worn.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Vikings! And GM advice? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.